Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, April 02, 2001

Borough residents deserve chance to vote on private prison project

I am adamantly opposed to the borough efforts to enter into a contract with Cornell or any other entities to operate a private prison in Kenai. Their past performance in Alaska and throughout the Lower 48 indicates that they have serious problems.

Fast tracking of this issue by the borough does not serve our best interests. The public deserves the opportunity to consider a project of this size. I would support a state-run prison in Kenai if the KNA land were purchased. I would, however, suggest that the 150-plus acres adjacent to Spring Creek prison (which is government-owned land) in Seward be utilized to help relieve the burden of overcrowding that the 800 to 1,000 prisoners will create in the Kenai area.

These private prisons create an avalanche of paperwork that has resulted in having to obtain search warrants to get access to proprietary information. With all due respect, the state creates enough paperwork without further complicating the paper chase through several private entities.

At this time we have heard many questions and few answers. Citizens of our borough deserve the right to vote on this project. I support Paul Fischer's resolution that would ensure that the public is heard. Our concerns will only be addressed if we are given the opportunity to vote on this very important issue. We need more time to consider how any prison of this size will effect our future on the peninsula.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Grace Merkes for coming forth with her position on not supporting the private prison.

Vicki Duggin, Kenai

Blood donations will continue, but Suzie Kendrick will be missed

I was deeply saddened as I read the March 27 Clarion article notifying our community of Suzie Kendrick's resignation from the Blood Bank. Suzie's efforts, as well as those who have worked with her at the Blood Bank, have been incredible. Suzie is an energetic, vivacious person who exudes kindness and determination. Her ready smile convinced even the fainthearted that rolling up your sleeve and surrendering a pint of blood was just the thing to do.

As a blood donor for over 20 years, I've never seen anyone with Suzie's vision for growth of the Blood Bank. She made people feel good about their brief visit, and a little poke, which would save the lives of others. Suzie would entertain, feed and explain the equipment to my 5 young children, knowing that a positive experience for them now, would mean a committed donor in a few short years. Whenever we would leave the Blood Bank, our only regret was that we had to wait for 56 days before I could donate again!

The article in the Clarion informs us that the CEO and board members did not want to hear any feedback from people, and therefore placed a gag order on their own employees, thus preventing them from communicating with the board members. This seems incredible to me. In an age where corporations across the nation welcome, and even solicit employee feedback, the BBA forbids it. Shame on you. Suzie didn't agree with this draconian measure either, so they locked her out of the very facility she worked so hard to establish.

Hundreds of people in our community (including myself) will continue to donate blood. It is, quite simply, a decent and deeply satisfying thing to do. I know the rest of the wonderful folks at the Blood Bank will persevere and continue to perform an extraordinary job. But, Suzie, my kids and I will miss you.

Robin Bogard, Nikiski

IFQs for halibut charters takes resource away from 'little guys'

Don't let a few greedy charters take control of your halibut sport fishery!

I don't care whether you make one halibut trip per year to stock up on winter fillets or if you're a fanatic like so many of us Alaskans addicted to the largest flatfish in the world! We need to stand together now to stop a small group of halibut charter operators from taking control of halibut sport fishing in Alaska.

An Individual Fish Quota (IFQ) program for longtime charter operators is what they're doing. They want to keep the "little guys" from taking you fishing. Longtime charters will own it all. The problem with this process is that it takes a "public resource" -- our halibut -- and makes it sole property of a handful of charter operators and the commercial long-liners.

Instead of fixing the problem by controlling abuse, keeping too many small fish and reducing wasted by-catch, which far exceeds the entire annual sport-caught limits, they want to own the resource. Fewer charters will mean higher prices and limited opportunity for you or your friends and relatives, when they come to the Great Land to fulfill their lifetime dream of catching a "barn door."

Call your elected representatives, congressmen and the governor! Stop these few from stealing our halibut before it's too late! Want more information on the movement? Call me at 338-1301, and learn more about what a few are trying to do to the majority! I'll send you a copy of the proposal.

Butch Sims, Wildman Charters, Anchorage

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